KAMPALA, Uganda, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Ugandan Energy Minister Irene Muloni said Thursday signing agreements with international oil companies gives the country significant production opportunities.
Muloni said Uganda is close to becoming a major oil producer with the signing of memorandums of understanding with Chinese, French and British oil companies.
"The signing of the MOU is therefore a significant step toward the production of Uganda's discovered oil and gas resources," she was quoted by the Ugandan newspaper the Independent as saying.
Tullow Oil, a British exploration company involved in the agreements, published a report last year on its Ugandan developments. It said it has uncovered more than 1 billion barrels of oil in Uganda since operations began and most of that was in the country's Lake Albert basin.
Muloni said the agreements gives Uganda a "harmonized commercialization plan for the development" of its oil resources.
She said the government has plans to eventually build a new oil refinery that could produce as much as 60,000 barrels of oil per day. Its partners in the energy industry will help develop options for crude oil exports, she said.